The show, which is on Netflix, takes place at an elite private high school in Spain that accepted scholarship students from across la ciudad (city) after their own school was destroyed. The students are:
Samuel: The white sheep of his small family who is somewhat unassuming and not particularly good with girls at the beginning of the show, but starts to have feelings for one of the rich students, Marina, who isn’t obsessed with her status as an elite like the others. He is best friends with Nadia’s brother Omar (see the description of Nadia below).
Christiano: An outgoing guy who doesn’t let snobbery or adversity keep him down.
Nadia: A Palestinian Muslim who starts the year extremely devout with an academic chip on her shoulder.
The rich kids include Paolo and Carla, a high school power couple who have been together forever, siblings Ben who is a spoiled jocky type and Marina, who is a free spirit or hot mess depending on how you look at it, Lu, one of the top students and a snob who has a thing with Ben, Ander Munoz*, the gay son of the high school principal, and later four additional cast members show up. *He is soooo cute.
As you can imagine, the scholarship students are not welcomed with open arms. They begin as negative novelties to the wealthy kids, but a devastating incident occurs that changes the dynamic between them all.
Kids rally to find the truth, to defend themselves, to seek revenge or to figure out who they are in light of the incident and other high school drama.
Every one of the kids becomes embroiled in the incident or its aftermath. They also find that the boyfriends or girlfriends they were with might not be the ones they wanted to stay with. The relationship musical chairs is a lot like Gossip Girls. So is the slick production. Between the sets, which includes the school. mansions, a low budget apartment, a market and more, and the amazing fashion, the show is pretty high quality. The OST is on point too and includes Mala Rodriguez who I love.
The acting is good too. I got immersed in some of the characters, forgetting at times that they were actors. This show was also similar to 13 Reasons Why. They showed the devastation that an event can cause, and focus on the humanity in everyone, and the potential for redemption.
There were a few things in the show that I did not like.
One was the transition one character made from being good and sweet to a lying superficial puto hell bent on vengeance. It made sense in the story arc but I hate to see anyone turn from goodness towards the dark side. In real life or on TV.
One character was cheated on and shows with cheating, especially when the cheater has no guilt or the cheaters end up together always irk me. I always have a hard time liking the characters who are cheaters.
I also had a slight issue with the fact that these kids who are rich and young and gorgeous, and live in Spain where there are miles of beautiful beaches and art and music and sangria were miserable most of the time. I just wished they had gone to the beach, met some other pretty people, had some wine and garlic butter shrimp, the kind that wafted through the air when I was at the beach in Barcelona, and enjoyed their extremely privileged lives more
What I really didn’t enjoy was the ending. I won’t give it away, but it was reminiscent of the ending of another show whose ending I also loathed. The show is still worth watching to the end, just beware that if you are a bleeding heart like me you may not be cheering for everyone at the end.
Season 4 is coming out on June 18, so hopefully this will resolve my mixed emotions about the last season. I am not hopeful since I hear a new plot begins and half the characters are replaced with new ones, including my favorite. Does that mean I won’t watch? Heck no. I am there for all of it.
Lastly, before you rush to see it, I should mention that Spanish nudity standards are different than other areas of the world so there is a lot of bare skin. The show also brings up ideas around sexual identity and fluidity and shows love between multiple types of partners. I love this because love is love is love but since it includes some super sexytime scenes I think it’s worth mentioning.